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Health and the Performing Arts – Part 3: Community Involvement

by on June 25, 2014

As Fredericton’s premiere performing arts facility, the Fredericton Playhouse aims to enrich the community. Some of the entertainment, cultural and social benefits of the performing arts might seem obvious, but did you know that attending theatre, music and dance performances could increase your physical and mental health, as well as community involvement? In this series, we will explore the many ways the performing arts can positively impact your health!

How involved are you in the community? If your answer is “I’m not,” then maybe you should try attending a concert, dance or play. According to the study The Arts and Individual Well-Being in Canada, 50% of theatre attendees are more likely to volunteer in comparison to those who don’t. As well, a resounding 70% of attendees are prone to have done a favour for a neighbour in the past month.

The reason why greater participation in the performing arts just might turn your grumpy neighbour into a nice guy is because of the socio-cultural elements associated with attending performances. According to The Value of Presenting, by the Canadian Arts Presenting Association (CAPACOA), these socio-cultural elements include civic and community pride, learning about other cultures, understanding your own cultural heritage, a sense of belonging and better relationships with friends and family.

There are also community-wide benefits to the performing arts. As the document Well-Being and the Arts: A Lifelong Friendship notes, in many economic and socially depressed neighbourhoods, art facilities are built to boost community involvement. CAPACOA also found that audience participation can lead to a better sense of community identity and pride, as well as positive community norms (like diversity, tolerance and free expression). Presenting a concert, dance performance or play is also an opportunity to bring diverse groups of people together who might not otherwise have the opportunity to interact.

The presence of an arts organization can help many different people. For example, the arts can empower youth – particularly youth-at-risk  – to succeed in school and develop skills and relationships that can benefit them later on in life. The arts can also play a role in helping seniors to live independently longer and reduce the need of medical support while keeping a healthy lifestyle.

Visiting a performing arts centre like the Playhouse can play a role in making you a better citizen – and our community benefits from your participation as well!

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